2016 Challenge Participant:

Celebration Green Design & Build - Rimm Residence

Applicants: Bill Freeman, David Rimm

Project Address: 113 Sunset Beach Road, Branford, CT 06468

Bdrms./Sq. Footage: TBD

Builder Website: www.http://celebrationgreen.com/

Project Overview Project Specifications Project Team Project Photos
The Celebration Green Design & Build - Rimm Residence project in Branford, CT.

General project overview:

After raising their family in Linden Shores, a coastal community in Branford, Conn., David & Janet Rimm wished to downsize and live in an energy efficient home.   Because of this interest, the Rimms attended an open house for a custom Zero Energy Passive House built by Celebration Green Design & Build in the neighboring town of Guilford. 

Once they had secured an ideal spot to realize their vision, David & Janet began the design process with Peter MacPartland, of Elm City Architects.  Some of the primary constraints that drove the upfront design process included the narrow configuration of the lot and setback requirements -- but on the plus side, the shape of the lot afforded the possibility of orienting the home to take advantage of scenic water views.

With their design nailed down, the Rimms contacted Bill Freeman, of Celebration Green Design & Build, to continue the dialogue of how to transform their design into a highly energy efficient home that would also embody high levels of comfort and health yet still meet their overall budget goals for the project.   Keeping in mind the total system approach -- the hallmark of the passive house building standard -- Celebration integrated a number of elements that would work, in concert, to deliver maximum energy savings and these core quality of life benefits.

The result is a 2420 sq. ft. home, with exceptional water views from all the prime living spaces on the main floor and also, from the master bedroom suite, a home office, and a home gym from the top floor.  Since the homeowners were interested in renewable energy, the home is equipped with a 9Kwh rooftop PV array.  To maximize energy efficiency, a combination of high performance products and construction methods were employed:  LED lighting throughout the home, Energy Star appliances, an induction cooktop, high-efficiency insulation, triple-pane windows and doors, and advanced air-sealing techniques.  Notably, the insulation, air-sealing and triple-pane windows & doors are also primary factors that contribute to the superb comfort of the home.  Finally, installation of a fresh air ERV mechanical ventilation system insures a continuous supply of filtered, healthy air to primary living spaces.
With a final HERS score of 9, the Rimms are well situated to enjoy their new lifestyle in their “not so big” certified DOE Zero Energy Ready home.

Special Features:

  • Standing seam metal roof, outfitted with 9 KwH PV array.

  • Unobstructed water views and sea breezes made possible via euro-style tilt-n-turn triple glazed windows and doors.

  • A set of overhead doors on each side of the building:  one pair for a two-car garage faces the street and two clear glass overhead doors on the opposite side face the water to maximize this space for seasonal recreational use. 

  • A galvanized spiral steel staircase leads from a patio to two decks, overlooking the water, on the main and upper level of the home.

  • A cantilevered deck, on the opposite side of the house, provides views and open-air access from the top floor master bedroom suite.

  • LOBA, a low VOC ultra-matte water-based finish was applied to all the hardwood floors for a healthier, more natural finish that will never need sanding.

Orientation and Envelope: (windows, insulation, framing)

  • The long axis of the roof is oriented for optimal efficiency of renewal energy.
    Built to FEMA AE 11 flood standards, the ground level is an unconditioned space characterized by a set of overhead doors on each side of the building and a central enclosed staircase with triple-latch door leading up to 1st floor of living space.

  • Although the narrow lot constraints meant a double-wall assembly wasn’t possible,  wherever possible, measures were taken to eliminate transfer of energy via thermal bridging.

  • R-30 Garage/Basement Ceiling & Floor System:  4.5” closed spray foam

  • R-30 Cantilever over main staircase entrance:  4.5” closed spray foam

  • R-25 Exterior Walls:  2 x 6” framing with high efficiency, flash-n-batt insulation:  2” closed spray foam and fiberglass batts

  • Interior Walls soundproofing – Johns Manville 3” Sounds & Fire mineral wool insulation

  • R-38 Roof – To eliminate thermal bridging, TJI trusses were used to frame the attic and insulated with 10.25” of open spray foam

  • R-21 Mechanical Room (in attic):  Fiberglass insulation

  • Windows:  Triple glazed tilt-n-turn windows and doors, with an U-value 0.150, insulated with Soudal door & window foam, and taped to create an air-tight seal.

Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water:

  • Since gas was already available on the street, a Trane 80,000 btu XV95 plus 2 stage variable speed gas furnace was installed w/NEST programmable thermostats

  • Navien condensing tankless on demand hot water heater


  • Fantech ERV-SER1504 Energy Recovery Ventilator  (ERV) provides filtered fresh air in prime living and sleeping areas and is fully zoned with boost capacity to draw stale and moist air from kitchen and all baths.


  • To minimize demands, the entire house utilizes LED lighting, Energy appliances, and an induction cooktop.


  • 9 kW PV array

Resources Sustainability Features:

  • Home is certified as a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home
  • Owner drives all electric car with charging station in garage
  • Gravel dripline around entire perimeter of the home for a more natural management of rain/run-off water
Website by: 505 Creative Services, Guilford CT  |  www.505Creative.com
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